FRIENDLY FIBRE

Ramona and I will be gracing the airwaves once again on RRR's the grapevine with our favourite broadcasters Kulja and Dylan. Its been a while between missives but we've finally come out the other side of the school holiday fog and new job frenzy and have will be reporting on all the happenings in Melbourne's craft and design scene in what we realise is a special textile focused edition of the Craftiverse. 

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Speaking of new jobs… we spent a busy Saturday in the new Handmadelife Headquarters giving a private marbling class to a visiting Malaysian 'pop personality' (and team of photographers, handlers and cameramen) . Ramona put on her best TV face and gave brilliant instructions, and we even managed to put together a palette "like the colours of the unicorn' (you heard it here first). I did my best 'craft assistant' sliding in and out of frame with paper towel and marbled silk… I did feel a little like a creepy uncle in a smock as I performed my duties. It was super surreal AND super fun, and our pop star was absolutely lovely and incredibly professional although i'm not sure either of us want to see ourselves on screen again! We'll be in the new studios weekly, making and talking about craft as well as opening up the space to all sorts of awesome peeps. Stay tuned!

Handmadelife Studios at QVM - 155 Victoria Street, Melbourne. 

Ramona has found her spiritual home as the new Art Craft and Cookery Coordinator at the Royal Melbourne Show! Competitive crafting has a long and venerable history and domestic crafters have used both country and state shows as the mainstay of competition for over 40 years. Amazingly even today there are still over 300 categories you can enter  and over 4000 participants took parti last year - all competing for the coveted blue ribbon and title of Best in Show. In a leap into the 21st Century Ramona has just started up an instagram account Art Craft Cookery Pavillion - (artcraftcookery) where you can find out more about what's on offer as well as details on how to enter. I've had the inside skinny and there are some AWESOME prizes on offer so do yourselves the proverbial and take a look at rasv.com.au

EXHIBITIONS

JOHN BROOKS - To Sheila is an lyrical ode to grand master weaver and everyones favourite fibre artist Sheila Hicks. In this new exhibition Brooks responds to Hick's innovative use of weaving as cultural signifier and her practice of creating 'notebook' miniatures from collected newspaper and magazine clippings to create a politically and creatively charged 'notebook' representing both time and place. This use of textile as text was instrumental in the development of contemporary textile art and just one of the reasons we all bow down at the temple of Hicks!  Brooks intimate works 'write' tactile love letters to Hicks while recording, reforming and re-interpreting the location of his recent international residency, Blönduós, Iceland. Using his trademark amorphous textured blobs, video, photography and weaving Brooks creates symbolic postcards that take full advantage of the historical use of the Mailbox Art Space. Its tops. Go see it.

To Sheila, by John Brooks, on now @ Mailbox Art Space, 141-143 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. 

PAUL YORE - the super fabulous Paul Yore opens his second solo show at Neon Parc next week and its a doozy. The culmination of two years of European research of folk art, traditional craft and the practice of outsider and marginal artists, this new exhibition features major new textile collages and large scale video and sound installations. Yore's practice dives deep into the potential of textiles and collage as locations of subversion and disruption, his artworks a heady, carnivalesque critique of contemporary western culture. In short we really love his work and are very VERY excited about this new show. 

Paul Yore, From April 22 @ Neon Parc 15 Tinning Street, Brunswick

FABRIK - This brilliant, multi venue, group exhibition is a testament to the strength of contemporary textile art. The brain child of Melbourne's own Sarah crowEST it features a collection of new and existing works by emerging, mid career and established local and international artists that showcase minimal, conceptual and performative approaches to textiles. This show bridges the worlds of fashion, textiles and contemporary art, and draws its name 'fabric' from a German translation of 'workshop', its title reflecting the tactile engagement of these artists as they manipulate and transform their materials through manual process. A brilliant overview of the vibrancy of the contemporary textile scene.

Fabrik, until June 5, all over town - find out more here

TAPESTRY DESIGN AWARD FOR ARCHITECTS - One of our favourite organisations The Australian Tapestry Workshop, has teamed up with the Tapestry Foundation of Australia and Architecture Media to invite architects, design collaborations and architecture students to design a tapestry for a hypothetical site. This award reflects the long historical relationship of major tapestry works and architecture that dates right back to the middle ages, and with a major prize of $5000 its a VERY big deal.  You can find out more here

Tapestry Design Award for Architects - online entries open April 18, 9am. 

CRAFT VICTORIA FUNDRAISER - The Craft Fundraising Dinner is a brilliant annual event that this year features guest speaker and creative spaces everywhere man Marcus Westbury, a jaw dropping selection of auction items from artists including Kate Rhode and Troy Emery, exclusive gift packages and in a surprisingly awesome Raiders of the Lost Ark move, 10 mystery ceramic vessels, one of which contains the key to a beachside holiday. Want more - it also boasts, great food, top wine and sparkling conversation. This years event is focusing on fundraising for the imminent move to bigger and better premises early next year - there are still a few tickets left, book here through Craft website. 

CRAFT HATCH AND CRAFT CUBED are two further Craft event opportunities that have just opened up to the public. Take advantage of this major event to get access to the coolest craft customers in town! If you are an emerging maker wanting to dip your toe into the market scene or an artist, collective, organisation, retail space, gallery or workshop specialist now is your chance to develop an idea for Australia's biggest Craft festival! 

Register your Craft Cubed event here or find out more information at www.craft.org.au .

Other things we hope to get around to include HOMEWORK'S new kids club craft classes for 6-12 year olds every wednesday from April 20 until June 8 at HOMEWORK studios. These look so good we wish we were still in Primary school!

 

Garland Magazine's 'online google hangout' with leading scholar, fibre artist and textile designer Gopika Nath, as she discusses the place of traditional embroidery in contemporary Indian culture.

AND Ramona's weekend side trip to the AUSTRALIAN QUILT CONVENTION, which apparently was REALLY something to see… See you on the airwaves people!